Athens News Agency: News in English (PM), 97-05-31
NEWS IN ENGLISH
Athens, Greece, 31/05/1997 (ANA)
NEWS IN ENGLISH
Athens, Greece, 31/05/1997 (ANA)
- ANA Med National Agencies conference begins
- "November 17" terrorists admit to 1996 US embassy rocket attack
- PM Simitis tours Epirus, stresses Egnatia's importance
- Greek Armed Forces chief's visit to Romania
- FM Pangalos to visit Luxembourg, Tirana
- Former PM Mitsotakis, Alternate FM to receive Turkish Ipekci awards
- Alternate Foreign Minister calls meeting EU's "Santer package"
- Rostropovich to perform in Thessaloniki
- Drachma stabilised
- Foreign Exchange
NEWS IN DETAIL
ANA Med National Agencies conference begins
The Athens News Agency seminar "National News Agencies in the New
Communication Era" began this morning with a discussion of news agencies'
role in the information society, diversification as a strategy for survival,
subscribers' expectations from a national news agency, tailored services
such as sports, finance and video news, as well as on-line data bases and
The seminar, sponsored by the Hellenic Telecommunications Organisation
(OTE) and its subsidiary OTEnet, was opened by Press and Media Minister
Professor Dr.Bernd-Peter Lange, Director General of the European Institute
for Media, emphasised the fact that Internet now gave consumers more choice
and control of content, without the mediation of media organisations, with
the attendant dangers of error and abuse.
"Values and assumptions that evolved in response to scarcity will have to
be revised in order to cope with abudance," he said, stressing the
increased importance of responsibility.
"With so much information available, the ability to select relevant
credible news from disparate data will become even more important. Brand
identity will take on a new importance to distinguish the news presentations
in the future. National news agencies could play an important role in
giving credibility to news stories and could act as custodians of quality
content," he observed.
The relationship between news agencies and television was examined by
Stelios Papathanasiou, Assistant Professo, Department of Communication and
Mass Media at Athens University.
The main concerns in this area, he said, were firstly the increasing number
of broadcasters seeking strategic alliances with each other, which raised
questions such as whether such a pooling of resources threatened agencies'
core news-gathering business.
Yet the big news agencies appear to have flourished since the appearance of
television news, he added, since it would be "economic luncacy, even for a
24-hour global network like CNN to aim to be completely self-sufficient in
international news gathering."
"The implication is that news agencies are operating in a commodity-type
business in which it is difficult to differentiate one service from another,
so the competitor offering the cheapest service will win the market share,"
Chief consultant of the Middle East News Agency (MENA), Mohammed El-Biali
suggested ten rules for news agencies in the information society.
These included an emphasis on providing background, the importance of
attribution, clarity, brevity, objectivity and detachment on the part of
the journalist. He also drew attention to the enormous Mediterranean market,
whose 20 countries had a total population of 600 million people.
The questions which news agencies should bear in mind, he said, were the
first of all the kind of information they would supply, the kind of
cooperation which should be established between national and international
news agencies and how cooperation between agencies from developed and
developing nations could be established to deal with the increased flow of
Manuel Pedroso Marques, President of the Portuguese news agency LUSA,
addressed the question of subscribers' expectations from a national news
agency, the first being good accurate news and the other being that not
everybody will be able to pay the stipulated fees, thus giving some news
agencies a competitive advantage. A national news agency bulletin, he said,
should provide coverage of the "places, realities and events subscribers
cannot cover, permitting them to work in a lighter organisational
On the same subject, Pantelis Kapsis, Editor in Chief of Greece's largest
circulation daily Ta Nea, stressed the importance of background analysis
and catering to readers' needs for information other than news items, such
as hobbies and leisure, making newspapers appear more like magazines.
Kapsis criticised national news agencies for often operating in a semi-
official, bureaucratic way, making it hard for them to compete with
newspapers. Often, he added, the agencies cannot afford the exclusive
rights a newspaper can pay for. More cooperation is called for, he
The morning session continued with addresses by Konrad Tretter, Marketing
and Sales Director at the Austrian Press Agency, and Nikola Antonov,
Regional News and TV Manager for Central and Eastern Europe, Reuters.
The Austrian Press Agency's experience in tailored services such as sports
and finance was detailed by Konrad Tretter, APA's Marketing and Sales
Director. New market segments, apart from the APA's traditional customers
such as press, include independent radio and television, other media such
as Internet and other on-line services, public authorities such as
political parties, government and parliament, and business and financial
Above all, Tretter emphasised the fact that value added information service
providers brought in more revenue than basic information providers.
"The higher the level of diversification, the higher the revenues," said
Tretter. The results in figures were a 12% increase in turnover between
1985 and 1996, and a 35% increase in cash flow.
ANADOLU Deputy Director General Elvan Baransel gave a brief outline of her
agency's sports news. ANADOLU, the most powerful media organisation in
Turkey, had 20 bureaus around the country with hundreds of correspondents.
Baransel expressed the hope that sports could be a factor for peace and
friendship in the region.
The final speaker in the morning's session was Nikola Antonov, Reuters'
Regional News and TV Manager for Central and Eastern Europe.
Reuters' reaction to Internet, he explained, had moved from ignorance and
then fear before the realisation that the resulting information overload
created problems for those with money but no time.
Reuters' Business Information Products were created as a secondary news
market with carefully selected, coded and organised items. The original
content was later expanded to include 2,400 other sources.
Responding to question regarding the "David and Goliath" relationship, as
he called it, between national and international agencies, with the latter
filing stories in national languages, Antonov said this applied chiefly to
international angle on local events and financial news services, the latter
accounting for 93% of Reuters revenue profit, with only 7% coming from the
The afternoon session is to examine in more depth the national news
agencies' relationship with Internet and telecommunications organisations,
as well as satellite transmission and multimedia structure in news
The seminar concludes late tomorrow morning.
"November 17" terrorists admit to 1996 US embassy rocket attack
The "November 17" terrosist group in a new proclamation has assumed
responsibility for the rocket attack on the United States' embassy in
Athens, back in February 1996.
The terrorists' proclamation, the third sent to Athenian daily ELEFTHEROTYPIA
in as many days, says that they did not issue one at the time of the attack
on the US mission because "the reasons were so obvious and understood" and
it relates it to the Imia crisis between Greece and Turkey in January
Police sources said yesterday that American police authorities have offered
the use of state-of-the-art electronic equipment to assist in the hunt for
the terrorist group.
Meanwhile the 21st victim of "November 17", 42-year-old shipowner Costas
Peratikos was laid to rest in Athens today, shot on Wednesday by three
assailants in a Piraeus street ambush.
PM Simitis tours Epirus, stresses Egnatia's importance
The Egnatia Highway currently under construction across the breadth of
northern Greece will be one of the major projects marking Greece's course
early next century, Prime Minister Costas Simitis said yesterday at the
start of a three-day tour of the northwestern Epirus
Noting that the present situation in the Balkans is perhaps the most
characteristic case of the extreme consequences of the new, fluid
international reality resulting from the collapse of bipolarity in
international relations, he said that the strengthe ning of Greece's
economy and its foreign policy would make the country a strong political
and economic pole in the Balkans.
He added that Epirus - one of the poorest regions in the EU - must play a
leading role in this process, while the Egnatia Highway, together with the
upgraded port of Igoumenitsa and the Aktion-Preveza underwater tunnel, will
put the region into an orbit o f development, opening the roads to the
Balkans and making Epirus a gateway to western Europe.
Greece's policy in the Balkans, and particularly regarding Albania, is
another factor that will promote the region's escape from isolation, the
He said Greece has already made important efforts in restoring conditions
of normality in the neighbouring country.
The prime minister also referred extensively to the details of a five-year,
700-billion-drachma government development plan for Epirus.
Greek Armed Forces chief's visit to Romania
National Defence General Staff chief Gen. Athanasios Tzoganis discussed
issues concerning cooperation between the armed forces of Greece and
Romania during his recent visit to the Balkan nation.
Gen. Tzoganis held talks with his Romanian counterpart, Gen. Constantin
Degeratu, the presidents of the Romanian parliament's and senate's defence
committees, that nation's defence minister and the presidential adviser on
Gen. Tzoganis also discussed existing possibilities for military cooperation,
the situation in the Balkans, and Albania in particular, as well as
Romania's potential accession to the NATO alliance.
FM Pangalos to visit Luxembourg, Tirana
Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos will leave for Luxembourg on Monday, to
participate in the European Union Council of General Affairs. Next Tuesday
he will travel to Albania for a one-day visit.
Former PM Mitsotakis, Alternate FM to receive Turkish Ipekci awards
Former New Democracy prime minister Constantine Mitsotakis will leave for
Turkey next week to receive the 'Ipekci' Award for promoting Greek-Turkish
friendship and his "25-year-long efforts in favour of rapprochement and
Also to receive this yearYs award will be Alternate Foreign Minister George
Papandreou for his efforts as education minister in promoting knowledge in
schools; Coalition of the Left Euro-MP Michalis Papayiannakis for
supporting Turkey's application for EU membership; Olympic weightlifting
champions Valerios Leonidis and Naim Suleymanoglu; composer Zulfi Livaneli;
Greek cartoonist KYR; journalist Ali Birant, and the Metropolitan of
Mr. Mitsotakis will have a series of contacts with prominent political and
business leaders, including Turkish President Suleyman Demirel on
Alternate Foreign Minister calls meeting EU's "Santer package"
A meeting was held at the Foreign Ministry yesterday afternoon at the
initiative of Alternate Foreign Minister George Papandreou and focusing on
the "Santer package", namely, European Union funding for EU member-states
According to press reports, an in-depth examination of fiscal prospects in
the EU was made based on both the needs of member-states and financial
commitments by the "15" towards candidate countries.
The reports said that according to a European Commission "scenario",
enlargement will require at least Ecu30 billion. Among others, this means
the preparations for development plans of member-states must start
No decisions were made and it was announced that further meetings will be
Rostropovich to perform in Thessaloniki
Russian-born cellist Mstislav Rostropovich will appear at the Philharmonic
Orchestra of Nations in Thessaloniki on June 3 and 4, visiting the city as
part of the Cultural Capital of Europe events.
Mr. Rostropovich will solo with works of Dvorak on June 3. The next evening
he will conduct the same orchestra with works by Serge Prokofiev, as the
National Ballet of Lithuania performs Romeo and Juliet.
The performances will take place in the renovated Theatre-in-the-Forest
which holds 3,500 people.
The Greek money market returned to normal trade on Friday after three days
of turmoil that led to total outflows of around 1.5 billion drachmas and
forced the Bank of Greece to step up interventions in order to curb the
The Greek currency rose against the ECU and most other foreign currencies
to end at 311 drachmas from Thursday's 312 drachmas versus the ECU at the
central bank's daily fix. Outflows were minimal, totalling 30 million US
Interbank rates fell to around 10.50-10.70 percent, reversing an early
advance to 13 percent.
On Saturday light cloud is expected over most of Greece except for
Macedonia, Thrace and the islands of the northern Aegean Sea where
scattered showers and the posibility of local thunderstorms are forecast.
Athens can expect only some light cloud and a temperatuyre range of 15 to
27 degrees centigrade. Similar weather is forecast for Thessaloniki with
Friday's closing rates - buying US dlr. 269.080
Pound sterling 442.015 Cyprus pd 531.712
French franc 46.920 Swiss franc 191.208
German mark 158.656 Italian lira (100) 15.965
Yen (100) 231.890 Canadian dlr. 195.067
Australian dlr. 205.126 Irish Punt 407.692
Belgian franc 7.682 Finnish mark 52.534
Dutch guilder 140.973 Danish kr. 41.662
Swedish kr. 34.916 Norwegian kr. 37.970
Austrian sch. 22.542 Spanish peseta 1.874
Port. Escudo 1.566